A Few of Our Favorite Things -Holiday Gift Edition

By Ann Fulton & Emily Russo, MS, RD, CDN

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Are you an early shopper who needs to round out a holiday gift list with a clever idea or two? Or have you yet to make that first purchase? Either way, we're back with our annual list of holiday inspiration!

Are you an early shopper who needs to round out a holiday gift list with a clever idea or two? Or have you yet to make that first purchase? Either way, we’re back with our annual list of holiday inspiration!

 

Holiday shopping is easy. Deciding what to buy in the first place it the hard part! With that in mind, we’ve pulled together our list of favorites, which we hope will provide helpful inspiration this holiday season! There are a wide variety of price points and interests – and though we do have some delish foodie picks, we also included goodies for your non-foodie friends too.

T-Shirts – Two Blind Brothers
Ann purchased these shirts for her sons from Two Blind Brothers after reading about the brothers who founded the company.

Bradford and Bryan Manning both suffer from a rare degenerative eye disorder and have lost most of their vision. One day, while shopping separately, they both picked out the same shirt because of how soft the fabric was. The importance of quality was the foundation on which they built a brand of ultra-soft clothing made from natural fibers for the sole purpose of funding blindness research.

Two Blind Brothers T-Shirts

Some shirts, like the grey one in this photo, have a message, and they all have braille on the sleeve and/or bottom edge so those with impaired vision can read what color it is. The company has built out its product line and now sells apparel and accessories for men, women, and kids.

 

Cocktail Class – Rose Water Cocktail Co.
Rose Water Cocktail Co. is a female owned and operated cocktail catering & education company. 

Ann took a virtual cocktail making class with out of town friends earlier this year, and it was so much fun. They learned three new cocktails as they socialized, and the drinks they made were delicious. Mocktail alternatives were also available.

Rosewater Cocktail Co

Classes run $30/person, and private groups of up to 30 guests can be arranged. (Private group rates start at $150.) A fun gift and a great way to catch up with family and friends from afar!

 

High-end coffee – Nespresso Machine
For people who appreciate really good espresso and fancy coffee beverages, the Nespresso machine may be the perfect gift.

Nespresso

The sleek machines use single serve pods (aluminum cups that are recyclable) to produce robust flavor and gorgeous crema, and they don’t take up too much counter space. They are easy to clean and rarely malfunction. There are models that come with milk frothers and some will make larger cups. And though this is a pricy purchase (depending on which model, around $200), it’s the gift that will be shared and enjoyed by all of the coffee drinkers in your house!

 

Themed Food Gift Boxes – Bloody Mary Bar by Lobster Gram
This company offers clever ideas when seeking a special gift for that hard-to-buy-for person. Case in point: A spicy, tangy Bloody Mary can be the perfect accompaniment to a good brunch, and Lobster Gram will send your giftee a box full of everything needed (except your favorite vodka) for an exceptional Bloody Mary bar.

Bloody Mary Bar Lobster Gram

This includes the mixers as well as all the sides and garnishes that make Bloody (or Virgin) Marys so much fun – olives, pickles, sausage, hot peppers, and even fresh shrimp (sent with dry ice). Ann and Jack received this as a gift recently, and it was a hit.

A variety of other themed boxes, from a paella gift set to a Maine shore clambake, are also available. The box shown above retails at $125, and prices vary for the other offerings. A 10% discount on the first order is currently available.

 

Bagels – Ess-a-Bagel through Goldbelly
Emily’s favorite bagels of all time are from Ess-a-Bagel, a family-owned bakery in New York City. They are insanely large, flavorful, and deliciously soft and chewy. And like most New York-style bagels are made with the very low mineral New York water, hand rolled, and boiled to perfection.

Ess-a-bagel

Luckily, Goldbelly.com can deliver these to bagel lovers all over the country! And though the price of delivery may seem high, the bagels can be frozen and enjoyed over time. Check out the bagel brunch packages including cream cheeses (which are made in-house), smoked fish, and black and white cookies. Your recipients – especially those who know and love their bagels – will not be disappointed!

Bakery Fresh English Muffins – Wolferman’s
Wolferman’s is bound to delight those who lean more towards an English muffin to start the day. A friend of Ann’s from summer camp introduced her to these breakfast treats decades ago. 

Wolferman's English Muffins

Fun fact: The original muffins were baked in old tuna cans, which explains their signature thickness. They are super easy to order for delivery all over the country and even have specialty gift packages to choose from. A 10% discount is currently available here as well.

 

Le Creuset Cookware – Mini Round Cocottes
Le Creuset has been a trusted brand of French cookware since the 1920’s that’s durable and easy to clean. They have a wide range of products that come in a rainbow of colors, including Emily’s favorites “flame” and “soleil.” Ann considers their Dutch Oven her workhorse, which you can see in so many of her food photos!

Le Creuset Mini Cocette

The Mini Round Cocottes are perfect for individually baked items – think single-serving mac and cheese bakes – and add fun to mealtime. These make a great gift for kids who are showing interest in cooking and for those who’d like to expand their mini cobbler and potpie repertoire. They retail for $20 each for the 8-ounce size and $30 each for the 14-ounce size.

 

For Dogs – Eco-Friendly Dog Bones by House Doggee
House Dogge is a lifestyle brand that prioritizes comfort, sustainability, and modern simplicity when developing new products for dogs. These bones come in leather or merino wool and are made to be long lasting.

Eco-friendly Dog Bones

For each purchase a percentage of sales is donated to nonprofit organizations that rescue and treat health challenged, homeless, unwanted, neglected, and/or abused dogs so that they may find a caring forever home.

A special gift for our best furry friends, the bones are customizable and prices start at $26. Note that these products are not intended for aggressive chewers.

 

Flowers – Amaryllis gift box
Watching an amaryllis grow from bulb to vibrant bloom is so much fun, and the recipient need not be a green thumb to enjoy success. Widely available in garden centers and big box stores, the bulbs are already planted – just add water.

These are economical and ideal for the person who doesn’t need or want anything. Perfect as a hostess gift, too. For those who may enjoy delicate white blooms, paper white bulbs are often sold alongside the amaryllises.

 

Fidget Poppers
It used to be all about the fidget spinner. Now we’ve been seeing these fidget poppers everywhere over the past few months – kids’ goodie bags, office desks, and friends pocket books. What do you do with it? Simply pop the bubbles in and out. This seems to have a calming and soothing for kids and adults alike because it allows the mind to still.

Pop it Favorite Things

Chuckle & Roar has minis perfect for stocking stuffers at $4.99 and versions with letters and numbers for $9.99. The fidget poppers also excellent for travel because they’re light and small and don’t make make loud or annoying sounds. Perfect for the fidgeters in your life who always need to be doing something with their fingers while they’re thinking.

 

Hand Painted Ornaments

Special Ornaments 

HoneyGirlOrnaments
When trimming the tree, ornaments provide an opportunity to walk down memory lane. As gifts, they can be economical, personalized, and ideal when finding the right gift feels elusive.

Ann ordered customized ornaments from HoneyGirlOrnaments for several friends last year. Michelle, the linked seller painted them with shared memories and they turned out beautifully—for a reasonable $18 per ornament. In years prior, Ann has also given snowman “families” with names of the actual family members under corresponding mother, father, and children snowmen.

Gumps Ornaments
Emily enjoyed browsing Gumps when she visited San Fransisco a few years ago. Their store is like Christmas year-round, with unique ornaments to fit all personalities, such as Fortune Cookie and Hot Chili Sauce! Keep in mind they are pricier, but you may be able to find just the right design.

 

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko

Children’s Holiday Book – Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko
This is a story about a little girl celebrating holidays having a Jewish mom and Christian dad. This mirrors Emily’s family dynamic, and so her 3-year old and 5-year old were able to relate to this holiday story. It’s a great children’s book for those growing in a blended household. 

Bestselling Novel – The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The book lovers in your life will be thrilled to receive this #1New York Times Best Seller. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett follows twin sisters who become estranged during young adulthood. This explores relationships, family dynamics, race, and gender topics, and is a total page-turner. . Pairs well with cozy wintry nights and a hot cup of tea.

Vanishing Half

 

Wrapping Paper – Vintage Maps from Paper Source
Emily’s mom loved to wrap her gifts with flair. She thought of her while at Paper Source recently, where the high quality wrapping papers are so thick and special, they could double as a gift on their own (one flat wrap 20”x28” retails for $8.95.)

Subway Map Wrapping Paper

Emily purchased subway map paper to wrap her son’s birthday gifts this year, and he spent more time looking at the map then he did playing with what was inside! She plans to frame the paper and hang it in his room as a poster.

Baking Tools – Tuilful Cookie Scoop Set
Ready for holiday baking? Ann loves this 3-piece set. They make evenly portioned, uniformly shaped cookies a breeze. They’re great for scooping meatballs, too, and are affordably priced at $12.99!

Ice Cream Scooper Set

 

Homemade Gifts!
The personal touch associated with a homemade gift never goes unnoticed. The Fountain Avenue Kitchen Food Gifts Index is a great resource for food and craft gifts alike. Here are just a few to check out:

These are a few of our favorite things! What gifts are you planning giving this year? Please post your ideas in the comments section below – the more the merrier!

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